Leveraging COVID-19 GIS Resources in Higher Education

03-26-2020 04:50 PM
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COVID-19 outbreaks are bringing the use of GIS technology to the forefront.  Many field surveys, maps, data, , dashboards, and story maps have been deployed by multiple agencies to better understand the coronavirus impacts and to inform the public.   As educators, students, and institutions migrate to online learning, these COVID-19 GIS resources are excellent for teaching and learning, and for student projects to help the local community.   

Official Esri Website for COVID-19

This official Esri website for COVID-19 is dedicated to helping you monitor, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. It allows you to request GIS help, access GIS resources, view global maps and dashboards, get insights, and learn best practices on responding to COVID-19.

5 Steps to COVID-19 response. Take this proactive approach to understanding the potential COVID-19 impact on your organization or community.

Step 1: Map the cases– Map confirmed and active cases, deaths, and recoveries to identify where COVID 19 infections exist and have occurred.

Step 2: Map the spread– Time-enabled maps can reveal how infections spread over time and where you may want to target interventions.

Step 3: Map vulnerable populations—COVID 19 disproportionally impacts certain demographics such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Mapping social vulnerability, age, and other factors help you monitor at-risk groups and regions you serve.

Step 4: Map your capacity to respond—Map facilities, employees or citizens, medical resources, equipment, goods, and services to understand and respond to current and potential impacts of COVID 19.

Step 5: Communicate with maps—Use interactive Web maps, dashboard apps, and StoryMaps to help rapidly communicate your situation.

More on How your GIS department can respond to COVID-19.

GIS Resources for Educators on COVID-19

These GIS resources on COVID-19 can give some ideas for student projects or as teaching materials.



Finding Data

Authoritative Maps and Data - Explore authoritative geospatial data sourced from the global GIS community and our trusted partners, including  COVID-19 Provider Practice Locations from NPI.


Building ArcGIS Hub Sites, Infographics and Solution Templates


Best Practices

Learning Resources



Educator Community Support

  1. COVID-19 Educator Support GeoNet Page – Visit this GeoNet page with curated content and resources for educators migrating to online learning. Connect with other colleagues, ask questions, and start a discussion.
  2. Higher Education Virtual Office Hours - If you have direct question related to tools, data, curricular materials, and teaching approaches in higher education, visit our virtual office hours.
  3. Questions on license agreement? Many higher education institutions have an Education Institution Agreement with Esri that provide access to many products. Contact your account manager with questions.
  4. Share Your Work - We want to hear from you. Send us your maps, apps, hub sites and story maps on COVID-19. We will share with the Education GeoNet community. 
  5. VitalSource Helps program – Students can take advantage of free access to Esri Press e-books now through May 25, 2020.
  6. Free student licenses via Learn ArcGISAs part of our continued efforts to support students and educators amidst COVID-19 university closures, we will offer free Student licensing until August 31st, 2020.
  7. How to Access Esri Technology while working from home - A video by Esri Canada

If you need any further assistance, contact the Higher Education Outreach Team at highered@esri.com or the K12 Outreach Team at K12schools@esri.com.

Post examples of your students’ work on the Education GeoNet Space so others can learn and be inspired!

Together, through teaching, learning and research,  we can help to turn this challenging situation into an opportunity, to adapt, excel and make impactful contributions to the community and the world. 

Stay safe and well.

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Esri Regular Contributor

One more best practice resource: Improve Your COVID-19 Cases Map. (H/T latest issue of my GIS education newsletter) 

About the Author
Canserina Kurnia is a GIS professional with over 18 years of experience. Currently holds the position of Solution Engineer with Esri Education team. Prior to that was a Solution Engineer and Technical Manager for Esri Global Asia Pacific, and Instructor/Team Lead with Esri Training Services